By Jerrell Richardson
While San Francisco will not have its full roster available this Sunday when the Rams come to town, they will be fine. They biggest pieces that could be missing are on the offensive side of the ball and for at least one more week, the team can survive. On the other side of the ball St. Louis has a few players dealing with concussions who, if aren't cleared, will have a noticeable effect on the Rams, who otherwise is the more healthy of the two teams.
Out of the 12 players listed on San Francisco's report, five of them are legitimately thinking about missing the game. The question marks this week injury wise are tight end Garrett Celek, defensive tackle Ray McDonald, cornerback Tarell Brown, guard Mike Iupati and wide receiver Quinton Patton. However, it just so happens that the 49ers have plenty of depth at each position and will not be hindered at all in what they want to do on either side of the ball with or without these players.
The two starters, one on offense and one on defense, Tarell Brown and Mike Iupati will be missed, but the team performed well last week without them so the concern is minimal. To fill their shoes the team has veterans Eric Wright and Adam Snyder, both who have been starters in their career and more than capable of ensuring the team does not suffer a major letdown at their respective positions.
The rest of the 49ers are good to go, and the more telling sign is that Michael Crabtree is not listed, along with the limited practice of wide receiver Quinton Patton, who has been out since Week 4 with a broken foot. This gives San Francisco two more receivers to help a passing attack that has been undermanned all season. While they will need to avoid adding names to this report, the 49ers are clearly getting healthier as they continue to see impact players make their way back to the field.
San Francisco 49ers
Did Not Participate In Practice:
- Tarell Brown (Cornerback): Ribs
- Garrett Celek (Tight End): Hamstring
- Mike Iupati (Guard): Knee
- Ray McDonald (Defensive Tackle): Ankle
Limited In Practice:
- Navorro Bowman (Linebacker): Knee, Shoulder
- Justin Smith (Defensive Tackle): Shoulder
- Mario Manningham (Wide Receiver): Knee
- Dan Skuta (Linebacker): Foot
- Frank Gore (Running Back): Ankle
- Ahmad Brooks (Linebacker): Stinger
- Quinton Patton (Wide Receiver): Foot
- Aldon Smith (Linebacker): Shoulder
Too Many Game Time Decisions Could Doom Rams
The Rams have almost half the injured players as the 49ers, but out of their seven, three of them are dealing with concussions. All but one of the players listed are not only starters, but starters at positions that don't have a lot of depth. Offensively their two starting guards, Harvey Dahl who has a knee injury and Chris Williams who is getting over a concussion, are banged up and the team has only one other true guard on the roster. This could hinder the running game, which could also be without the one in their one two punch Zac Stacy who also suffered a concussion last week.
Trumaine Johnson is in the same boat as Williams and Stacy, as he also had a concussion last week. The Rams starting left cornerback could miss this game, which would leave an already suspect secondary shorthanded, especially when considering cornerback Brandon McGee, the teams other starter has been limited in practice due to his foot injury.
The status of the players getting over concussions will be uncertain up until kickoff so the Rams won't really know who is playing until Sunday. If St. Louis has to play without any of these key pieces they will be limited, and if all are out, the Rams will have no shot at running the ball, which is going to be a key for them pulling off an upset. The good news for them is that a concussion is not an injury that automatically rules them out, and it's not out of the question that all of the Rams are on the field come gametime.
St. Louis Rams
Limited In Practice:
- Harvey Dahl (Guard): Knee
- Trumaine Johnson (Cornerback): Concussion
- T.J. McDonald (Safety): Shin
- Zac Stacy (Running back): Concussion
- Chris Williams (Guard): Concussion
- Brandon McGee (Cornerback): Foot
Full Participation In Practice:
- Eugene Sims (Defensive End): Foot
49ers Confident In Replacements
While both sides could be without some key starters, it's the Rams that will be holding their breath up until kick off as they could see their running game handicapped if either guard or their back is not cleared for contact. This would force St. Louis to put together a patchwork line and possibly be without their leading rusher, opposing a very talented 49er front. Defensively the Rams may be short handed in the secondary, but at least have the bodies to step in as needed. The 49ers are not facing the same concerns, as they played last week without any starter who could sit out, and saw that the backups are more than capable of performing at a level comparable to the starters. Injury wise, the advantage goes to the 49ers.
For more 49ers news and updates, visit 49ers Central.
Jerrell Richardson is a Bay Area native who due to a college career at San Diego State University has grown an appreciation for all things sports related in California. His heart will always remain in San Francisco though where he currently resides and covers everything from the San Francisco 49ers and Giants to the San Jose Sharks and California Bears Baseball team. Jerrell is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
for more features.